Tania’s a personal trainer at Auckland Council’s Sir William Jordan Recreation and Fitness Centre in Onehunga, managed by YMCA Auckland, and making her clients fit is what gets her blood pumping. Tania runs an 8 week weight loss challenge for ladies called ‘Life-Style’ that sheds those extra pounds, and, crucially, also gets her ladies healthy and active. This is now the third programme that Tania has run, so she’s well into the swing of things.
The end of every Life-Style group finishes with a big bang, but this time Tania went for the biggest bang yet! She decided she would push her group to the limit by signing everyone up for the “Tough Guy & Gal Challenge.” Like the name suggests, you do indeed need to be a tough guy or gal to make it through this gruelling army-styled challenge! Thick, foot-squelching mud is in abundance; every person needs to push their way through it and over a variety of obstacles – which means running, walking, pushing, climbing, and even crawling, all while smothered in mud.
Tania says that this is the fourth Tough Guy & Gal Challenge that she has done, “but this year’s challenge was definitely the most fun. The event is run annually and just seems to get bigger every year.” Because it’s such a cool, fun event to take part in, Tania thought that other YMCA Auckland members might want to join her team and give it their best shot. In addition to her 14 Life-Style ladies, four other YMCA Auckland members were brave enough to sign up.
On the morning of the big challenge, everyone was dressed in pink – although those clothes didn’t stay colourful for long. As soon as the whistle blew, the contestants were off – running over muddy paddocks, wading through creeks, climbing wire bridges and big fences. One participant described how they “got stuck in the mud, pulled each other out, pushed each other up the hills and rolled around on the ground, all in a mad dash to the finish line.”
The contestants could choose to take either the 6km or 12km route through the mud, but only one member, Simon Mills, decided to tough it out the full distance. In an incredible effort, he managed to not only finish the race, but also take first place! He made the trek in just over an hour (61 minutes, to be precise).
Another surprise came from John Edwards, who at the age of 73 years opted to get down and dirty in the thick mud. In fact, at 73 years old, that made John the oldest competitor – and it just goes to show that age doesn’t have to slow you down.
Both Simon and John were awarded prizes, and the rest of the team were lucky too, taking away two spot prizes. “Overall everyone had an amazing time. It was definitely a challenge, more so for some than for others. But participation was the name of the game and everyone completed the race all in their own time,” says Tania. It really was an amazing achievement to get through, and everyone has earned themselves the title of ‘tough guys and gals’!